Jim Stoner Joins The Mission Podcast

Jim Stoner Joins The Mission Podcast

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Charles Follis: The man who would change the face of professional sports forever!

Charles Follis is a true American Hero. He was willing, as the only African American young man in Wooster High School, to step forward and be a leader in an unknown sport in 1898: American football.

After leading his new team, which he started and captained to two undefeated seasons, he joined the local club football team, the Wooster Athletic Club. The league-leading brutes of the Shelby Athletic Club (Blues) came to Wooster, and all watchers expected Shelby to crush the Wooster "Fighting Scots."

The Wooster Daily Record reported the next day that "due to the play of Charles Follis, known as ‘The Black Cyclone,’ on offense and defense, the Wooster Scots only lost 8-0!"

After this game, Frank Schiffer, owner of the Shelby team, told Follis, "Great game, young man, and I never want to play against you again." Schiffer offered Charles $10 a game in 1902 to move to Shelby, making him the first African American man to be paid to play football in America.

Enjoy these stories and so much more from writer, actor and director Jim Stoner in the latest edition of The Mission Podcast.

Stoner, who has spent a significant portion of his career studying and teaching the life and legacy of Follis, goes into great detail about Follis’ relationship with Baseball Hall of Famer, Branch Rickey.

Rickey is well celebrated for breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball by signing the first black player, Jackie Robinson. Few know it was Rickey’s relationship with Follis, early on in his career, that ultimately would have a great impact on his life; to be brave enough to change the landscape of professional sports.

As Charles’ little sister, Lucy Follis, used to scream as he broke a big run — "Run, Charles, run!" — let's all continue to carry the legacy of Charles forward, as we say, "Run, Charles, run for The Ages!"

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